Week-long event will feature 10,000 artistes, 232 events

Nothing touches the heart like art.

The State School Arts Festival, the 54th edition of which opens here on Sunday, is just that. Pure magic. More than 10,000 young artistes, who have come through after tough competitions at three levels, in action in one town. And crowds of 20,000 staying on till the early hours of morning to watch a Bharatanatyam performance.

It is such passion that has made the festival the sheer wonder it is. It is an event that celebrates art and adolescence like nowhere else in the world. People in different parts of the world will be glued to the events in Palakkad over the next seven nights and days. For those who cannot make it here, there is the live coverage on television and the official website – www.schoolkalolsavam.in

People in huge numbers will come here, of course. Not just from places in and around Palakkad; there are people who religiously attend the festival by taking leave from work, some of them even from overseas.

Varied fare

Little wonder really, for there is something for everyone. If you are a lover of music for instance, there are different kinds of music for you: besides classical, light and instrumental, you now have folk music (nadan pattu) and ghazal, both of which made a promising debut at last year’s festival at Malappuram. Dance events will be the biggest crowd puller. It could well be a full house for Mohiniyattom (High School) at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, the main venue, on Sunday night as the curtain goes up on the festival.

There are 17 venues in all, which will stage events as varied as Kathakali, Mappila Pattu, Kannada recitation, Chavittu Natakam, Panchavadyam, Kuchipudi, English elocution, Margamkali, Mridangam, Nangiarkoothu, pencil drawing, and violin.

Such astonishing variety is one of the main reasons behind the success of the festival. Another reason is the quality of the performers. One is sure to see some incredibly talented young boys and girls here. This festival provided the first major platform to artistes such as K.J. Yesudas, P. Jayachandran, K.S. Chithra, Manju Warrier, Vineeth, and Neena Prasad.

When Yesudas and Jayachandran had competed in the second edition of the festival in Thiruvananthapuram in 1959, in light music and instrumental music, respectively, there were just 600 participants in 33 events, which were held over two days. Fifty-five years on, there are 232 events.

Big is beautiful, too.

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